Merkel ally calls for Greece eurozone exit

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A top official from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian sister party called Sunday for debt-mired Greece to exit the eurozone, as Germany's leader fights to keep her government on message during the crisis.

"I think it is a solution, if you want to bring Greece back to stable competitiveness, that they do so outside the eurozone," Alexander Dobrindt, general secretary of the CSU party, told German radio.

He added that if Greece failed to convince an international team of auditors of its reform efforts to secure more aid, then the EU's rescue fund, the EFSF, "should also have the right to organise the exit."

Merkel, recently named the world's most powerful woman by Forbes magazine, has struggled to force her allies to toe the party line on Greece as the crisis rages on.

She told Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday that she wanted to see "a strong Greece in the euro area."

Fifteen deputies from her centre-right coalition defied her in a pivotal vote Thursday to boost the EFSF in what many observers had viewed as one of the biggest tests of her authority since taking the helm of Europe's top economy.

Her vice chancellor and economy minister, who heads her junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats, sent the markets into a tailspin last month with talk of a Greek default.

This prompted Merkel to demand that everyone "weigh their words carefully" when speaking about the crisis, conscious of how nervous the financial markets are.

© 2011 AFP

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